heise meets … This is how we achieve more digital sovereignty

The Open Source Business Alliance (OSB Alliance) is the association of the open source industry in Germany, which currently represents around 200 member companies. Digital sovereignty is particularly important to him, which is why he also describes himself as the Federal Association for Digital Sovereignty e. V. Peter Ganten, its chairman, defines the concept of digital sovereignty in three ways in the podcast “heise meets … the decision-maker talk”. First and foremost, software users should maintain control over data flows and digital processes. This should make them more capable of acting and keep the reins of action in their hands, for example by being able to initiate and develop innovations themselves. Thirdly, according to Peter Ganten, this reduces dependency on the large IT manufacturers, which in turn increases digital sovereignty. You could also say that states and companies should be able to develop important digital technologies themselves.

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A study commissioned by the EU Commission in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute came to the conclusion in 2022 that open source solutions are an important factor for economic competitiveness and sovereignty. Peter Ganten takes up this result and comments on a central point of the study: “She says that for every euro that the state invests in open source software, the gross domestic product grows by 7 euros. That means the state by investing in open source software, creates a widely available commodity that anyone can use.” This, in turn, can be used by all sorts of industrial sectors, individuals and universities, which leads to further innovations, an increase in gross national product and more independence, Ganten explained.

Peter Ganten

In order to reduce the cloud computing dependency on US giants such as Microsoft, Google and Amazon AWS and to reduce the technological gap, Peter Ganten recommends own national or European cloud projects and providers. He says: “We have a realistic chance of catching up here. One prerequisite for this is that we also do what ultimately took place in the USA.” By this he means state investments in the corresponding basic technologies in the form of open source technologies. According to Ganten, Google and Amazon are also based on open source software. “Here in Europe, we also have to take up this idea to a certain extent,” says Ganten, who refers to his own project: Sovereign Cloud Stack. This is a network of existing and prospective providers of standardized cloud and container infrastructures. According to Ganten, the aim of the project is to create an open, independent platform. This also has the advantage of making migration from a cloud service provider to an in-house data center or to another cloud service provider much easier.

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